When most women think of menopause, they probably summon images of hot flashes, unwanted facial hair, sleeplessness nights and crankiness — and of course, they would be right! According to WomensHealth, some women welcome menopause as “an end to cramps and bloating” but it’s true that many others are fearful about what lies ahead. I know that having just entered into this stage of life, I certainly was! Learning more about the top five concerns about menopause may bring you some comfort. Your health care provider will have more information about how menopause may affect you.
How will menopause affect my moods?
Changes in estrogen levels can leave you feeling a bit out of sorts. WebMD notes that these changes can manifest as anxiety, fatigue, aggressiveness and sadness. Others report that “pre” menopause (or perimenopause) is the time of the greatest mood swings. People experiencing these symptoms should try stress-reducing activities and include exercise in their daily schedule. Not everyone experiences these feelings of anxiety but if you do, speak to your healthcare provider. She could prescribe medications to correct any chemical imbalance you may experience.
The Dreaded Night Sweats
At the end of the day, there’s nothing like being overwhelmed with a rising heat in your face, neck or body. Many women find this phenomena a reality for weeks, even months. You can take control of your night sweats (somewhat) by sleeping in light clothing, running an electric fan, drinking water and pillow that allows the air to circulate for coolness. There are special pillows you can buy that have special, cooling gel inserts.
I think this is one of the symptoms I dreaded most. Women can experience varying stages of urinary incontinence with menopause. The North American Menopause Society suggests that the bladder lining weakens during this time. NAMS says, “You need not endure problems with urinary incontinence. Exercises to train and strengthen the pelvic floor muscles may help, as may a number of medications and surgical treatments.” It is definitely an unwanted problem for many.
I Can’t Sleep
Sleeplessness is just part of this process but you can do something about it. Set yourself a sleep schedule and stick to it. Spend some time relaxing before bed (without the television) to wind down. Try a good book or taking a warm bath. Snack on foods that contain tryptophan like milk or peanuts. Do skip the caffeine too. Don’t make your bedroom a place for work, just sleeping (and of course, intimacy).
Pain During Sex
It’s another symptom of menopause–pain during intercourse. Decreasing ovarian hormone production is to blame for dryness and waning desire. However, you can take control of dryness issues with a vaginal lubricant. Staying healthy through a good diet and the aforementioned exercise regimen can help.
So there it is in black and white–the ugly symptoms of menopause. Still, it is a part of life and like any of the others, there are ups too! Experience intimacy anytime you like. Live life without the PMS symptoms. These are some of the things that do make it worth while.